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    Antoninus: Equanimity and Justice

    Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161). AV aureus (20mm, 7.28 gm, 6h).  Rome, AD 148-149. ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XII, laureate and draped bust of Antoninus right / COS IIII, Aequitas standing left, holding balance scale in right hand and cradling cornucopia in left arm. RIC 177f. BMCRE 94 note. Cohen 235. Calic├│ 1505c (this coin illustrated). An exquisite aureus, deeply struck, with a high-relief portrait of exceptional artistry. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU 5/5 - 3/5, Fine Style, edge mark.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Privately purchased from Spink, London, Fall 1992. 

    Unlike the restless Hadrian, Antoninus never left Italy and was content to rule from Rome. Stability and equanimity were his watchwords, and his policies kept the Empire on an even keel for 24 years. He put no one to death, friend or foe. Only minor flare-ups in northern Britain and north Africa disturbed the general peace. The frontiers were maintained and defended, with his decision to build a new wall in Britain 80 miles north of the Hadrian's Wall the only instance of imperial expansion. He carefully groomed Marcus Aurelius as his successor, but neglected to provide him any military training. In fact the mild, civilian character of his reign may have unwittingly allowed storm clouds to gather and strengthen both within and beyond the frontiers. Nevertheless, later generations viewed Antoninus as the perfect emperor, and the tranquility of his reign took on the sheen of a lost golden age.

    This splendid gold aureus was struck in AD 148-149, a significant year that saw celebrations for the 900th anniversary of Rome's founding. The reverse figure of Aequitas holding the scales of justice perfectly characterizes the reign of this wise, just and clement emperor.

    All Roman gold coins from the Dimitriadis Collection have been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. These may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please e-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.




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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
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